The Walking Dead: “Arrow on the Doorpost” (Season 2, Episode 13)


My dinner with the Governor.

That’s pretty much this episode, which revolves around a meeting Andrea arranged between Rick and the Big G to try and settle their differences. Since we all know the Governor is a deeply disturbed man who will still want to kill Rick and Company no matter what they agree to (as he’s killed others), it’s inevitably anticlimactic. It does serve to move the story along. It’s just not the Emmy winning confrontation the writers seem to think it is.

In short, it’s milked.

We open with Hershel driving Rick and Darryl up to a deserted silo farm. Darryl escorts Rick through the silos to an empty building with a table set up on a podium. After some pretentious mood setting, the Governor reveals himself as already there. The problem is, they rob the meeting of any real dramatic tension almost immediately. The Governor makes a big show of putting his gun out of his reach. But when he sits, we see he has one taped by his chair. Now someone else, you could maybe argue they just want some last ditch protection. But the guy with the head collection?

Uh, no. So we the audience know this is pure theatre. Everything the Governor says is either posturing or an outright lie, which makes it a tad tedious. I won’t bother you with the blow by blow.

We’re loading lots of guns in the prison. Merle wants to go bust up the meeting and just kill the Governor. Glen says no because who knows what will happen if they try. This eventually leads to a forced Merle/Glen showdown that gets resolved when the others drag Merle down. But on the positive side, that further dominos into Glen getting some quality time with Maggie and the episode’s best one-liner. So stay tuned.

Back at the silo farm, some nice character interactions occur between the entourages of our respective alpha dogs. Darryl and the former assistant-Merle, Caesar, gain a little respect for one another finishing off some walkers that wander into the area. Darryl is more versatile, but Caesar scores the single most spectacular kill by literally obliterating a zombie head with a baseball bat. They commiserate over the inevitable showdown to come with a pack of cigarettes they lift off a dead guy. Which is actually both disgusting and kind of cool.

Hershel and nerdy Milton exchange more scientific notes. Milton is inordinately interested in all the details of how Hershel survived being bit. Milton is a decent enough sort, if hopelessly naïve.

And good old Andrea. She now knows her boyfriend felt up/faux raped Maggie when she was his captive. She even says she can’t go back, but eventually does. Hopefully she gets her head together next week; the preview hints at that.

Maggie and Glenn stand watch outside at the prison. Boy-girl banter develops. Glenn sensibly decides he really can’t maintain his focus with rotting corpses growling in the background, so Maggie takes him into the garage. It’s semi-graphic, at least by the standards of this show so far. Nonetheless, it’s a welcome interlude of humor and humanity.

Best line of the night? Michonne throws Merle’s assassination plan back in his face by noting he wasn’t good enough to take her down. Merle keeps his cool: “Perhaps I was just seduced by your sterling personality.” Even Michonne manages half a smile for that.

The Governor finally tells Rick he can have peace if he delivers Michonne over to be killed. He even takes off his eye patch to emphasize the point. Rick has two days to decide.

We watch the cars peel out and go in opposite directions form above, sort of like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Back at Woodbury, the Governor tells Milton and Caesar that they’ll take out whoever comes to the meeting in two days. It’s the best way to avoid a slaughter. Milton has the presence of mind to say “That is a slaughter.” He, too, seems to be growing disenchanted with the Governor’s use of his veto authority. Time to check the local Constitution, I suppose.

Rick tells his people the Governor will be coming to kill them. He needs them scared so they’ll take a stand. He only confides the Michonne offer to Hershel. Again, it lacks the intended drama because we already know it’s a lie. The Governor wants to kill them.

Will Conservatives Like These Episodes?

The Darryl and Caesar tag team was pretty good. And thumbs up to Maggie and Glen form making the best they can out of a crappy world. But the Governor/Rick confrontation felt flat, in part because I think the writers believe these two guys are more epic than they really are. It’s the doomed world situation that’s actually epic. But the plot was advanced, albeit slowly. And I still retain some hope for Andrea, whether I want to or not.

Another maybe, I guess.